Thursday, June 13, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Journalism forced Kazi Shahid to hundreds of court appearances

  • Publication of the Khoborer Kagoj 
  • Revolution of the Bangali nationalist philosophy
  • Publishing objective reports
Update : 30 Aug 2023, 12:30 AM

The country’s print media saw a new dawn in the late 1980s through the publication of the Khoborer Kagoj weekly. The Daily Ajker Kagoj first hit the newsstands on February 23, 1991. That was not merely a newspaper. It brought out a revolution of the Bangali nationalist philosophy.    

On his way forward with the goal of resurrecting the spirit of the Liberation War, the newspaper’s chief editor, Kazi Shahid Ahmed, had to face multifarious obstacles of different degrees. He appeared in the court dock more than 600 times for running news reports on state oppression and anti-Liberation War forces. But he remained nonchalant and continued publishing objective reports.  

The daily introduced modern journalism in the country. The foundation of the newspaper involves a long and eventful history.  The declaration of newspapers was transferred from the president’s office to the district administration centering the publication of The Daily Ajker Kagoj.  

The dummy of the newspaper was published on February 21, 1991 and the first issue was available in the market two days later.  With a bunch of young journalists, the daily gained popularity very soon. In his autobiography, Jiboner Shilalipi (translated as Inscriptions in Stone), Kazi Shahid Ahmed said: “The Daily Ajker Kagoj is a movement of progressive-minded people; it has brought out a massive revolution. 

“It has shown a wider range of information in the field of journalism. It has greatly added to journalism. It transformed journalism into a youth-based challenging profession.” 

Narrating the obstacles over publishing the daily, he said: “In doing so, I faced many challenges and even got sued.  

“Being an editor, I had to appear on the court dock on more than 600 occasions. I was even incarcerated. Also, I faced a number of summonses and arrest warrants. I was sued in 87 cases.” 

Iqbal Mohammad Khan, who worked at the daily for 14 years, on Tuesday said that the newspaper was most vocal against Jamaat-e-Islami and the perpetrators of the Liberation War in the early 1990s. 

“That was why Jamaat supporters filed a number of cases across the country against our publisher and editor among others. Duly, Kazi Shahid Ahmed had to attend case hearings for bail.” 

After the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975, the architect of an independent Bangladesh, his thoughts, Liberation War and freedom fighters were hardly recalled in the country’s mass media.  

But going against the tide, Kazi Shahid Ahmed, who lost one of his brothers to the 1971 war, came up with his newspaper.  In fact, he was a prisoner of the war too.

In his autobiography, he said: “The motto of the newspaper was to restore the spirit of Liberation War.”

He stood tall even being opposed by the government in his efforts to spread the spirit among the commoners.  

He faced the government’s resistance during the regimes of HM Ershad and Khaleda Zia. He was even threatened by many influential leaders. He was also arrested many times.    

Barrister Nazmul Huda, then information minister, banned government ads on the newspaper as Kazi Shahid Ahmed in March 1992 extended his support for Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and financially assisted it.  

Defying all odds, the newspaper flourished professionally. Its readership grew manifold.  

On January 21, 1994, then-opposition leader Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Jessore bureau of the newspaper.

During its peak popularity, he also came up with the “Shoto Borsher Shershthho Bangali” award.

Bangabandhu was posthumously honoured with the award on April 14 at a colourful event. Sheikh Rehana received it on his behalf.  Five more eminent individuals were also given the award. 

The publication of the newspaper was suspended in 2007 despite being the “game-changer” in the country’s mass media, thanks to the 1/11 changeover. 

Describing the very day in his autobiography, Kazi Shahid Ahmed said: “It was one of the days I was saddened most. 

“But two and a half decades after brining out The Daily Ajker Kagoj with the spirit of Liberation War, when I see Shahbagh is full to the brim with a whole new generation of the youth it feels like we succeeded despite the daily being showdown.”

Timeline: Death of Kazi Shahid Ahmed
30 Aug 2023, 00:04
Journalism forced Kazi Shahid to hundreds of court appearances
29 Aug 2023, 18:19
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